NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Consumer-goods giants Kimberly-Clark (KMB) and Procter & Gamble (PG) both reported better-than-expected earnings on Friday, proving the non-durable staples business remains a rare industry of strength.
For its fourth quarter, Kimberly-Clark recorded net income of $1.44 a share, beating Thomson Reuters analysts' consensus by a nickel. Revenue of $5.3 billion, though flat year-on-year, beat consensus by $21 million. Organic sales, excluding currency exchange fluctuations and restructuring charges, rose 5% including an 11% jump in the international division.
In its personal care segment, which includes Huggies diapers, sales of $2.4 billion decreased 1%, while sales in the consumer tissue segment were flat from the year-ago period. Revenue growth was led by K-C Professional, its commercial- and industrial-designed products segment, which increased 3% to $800 million. Sales in its health care segment rose 2% to $400 million.
Over fiscal 2013, the Irving, Texas-based business recorded $21.2 billion in total sales, flat on the prior year. Organic sales increased 4% with higher sales volume of 3% and increased net selling prices of 1%. The company said negative foreign currency exchanges and lost sales in connection with European strategic changes reduced sales by around 2%. Revenue beat analyst consensus by $56 million.
Full-year net income of $5.77 a share came in 10% higher than the year earlier and above the $5.65-$5.75 guidance range previously issued.
The company also said it is pursuing a tax-free spinoff of its health care business to create a standalone publicly traded firm with around $1.6 billion in annual net sales. Management expects to seek approval from its board in the second quarter of 2014, with completion of the breakup expected by the end of the third quarter.
In 2014, the Kleenex maker said it expects organic sales growth between 3% and 5% with volumes up 2% to 3%. Adjusted earnings are forecast to increase between 4% and 7% and to fall in the range of $6 to $6.20 a share.
Kimberly-Clark said it expects to increase its dividend by 2% to 4% effective in April. This will represent Kimberly-Clark's 42nd consecutive annual dividend increase. Share repurchases for 2014 are expected to total $1.3 to $1.5 billion.
"In 2014, we will pursue targeted growth initiatives, launch innovations and support our growth opportunities with increased advertising and research spending. We expect to achieve a healthy level of cost savings, which should help fund brand investments and improve margins. We will also focus on cash generation and allocate capital in shareholder-friendly ways. And while we expect significant currency headwinds and higher commodity costs this year, we plan to deliver solid bottom-line growth. We remain optimistic about our prospects to drive profitable growth and generate attractive returns to shareholders," said CEO Thomas J. Falk in a statement.
Meanwhile, larger competitor Procter & Gamble reported flat growth. In its second quarter ended in December, the company (whose product portfolio includes Febreze, Pantene, Oral-B and Gilette) recorded net income of $1.21 a share, beating estimates by a penny.
Revenue of $22.28 billion came in 0.4% higher than a year earlier but missed consensus by $52 million. Like Kimberly-Clark, P&G's sales were buffeted by unfavorable forex conditions and macro headwinds. By segment, beauty sales fell 2%, grooming was flat, health care increased 4% and both fabric care/home care and baby/feminine gained 1%.
"P&G's second quarter results came in as we expected," said CEO A.G. Lafley in a statement. "We're on-track to deliver our objectives of 3-4% organic sales growth and 5-7% core EPS growth for the fiscal year. We expect strong earnings growth in the second half of the fiscal year driven by solid top-line growth, moderating headwinds from foreign exchange, and productivity savings that build throughout the year."
By mid-morning, P&G shares jumped 3.6% to $81.04, while Kimberly-Clark climbed 3% to $108.57.
TheStreet Ratings team rates PROCTER & GAMBLE CO as a Buy with a ratings score of A. The team has this to say about its recommendation:
"We rate PROCTER & GAMBLE CO (PG) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, increase in stock price during the past year and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: PG Ratings Report
TheStreet Ratings team rates KIMBERLY-CLARK CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A. The team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate KIMBERLY-CLARK CORP (KMB) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in stock price during the past year, growth in earnings per share, revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results."
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: KMB Ratings Report